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The Advantages of Flexible NDT Probes for Eddy Current and Ultrasonic Testing

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Industrial quality control relies on the ability of manufacturers to identify all major and minor flaws within a component. With the advancement in non-destructive testing (NDT) technologies, industries have been able to significantly reduce the risk associated with structural failure by identifying anomalies. However, the same cannot be said for components with complex geometries.

The many challenges associated with complex geometries and structures like dovetails or elbows on pipe systems highlight the limitations of conventional, rigid NDT probes. The solution: flexible NDT probes. The many advantages of a flexible NDT probe allow industries and manufacturers to easily inspect components with complex geometries to ensure quality and safety.  

The Challenges of Inspecting Complex Geometry

Non-destructive testing of parts with ultrasonic (UT) or eddy current (ECT) technology is a prevalent requirement among a wide range of industries including aerospace, automotive, and oil and gas. The criticality and risks included in these industries mean that a minor unidentified flaw can be potentially hazardous, thus, an advanced inspection solution is required.

The most conventional NDT probes are designed ideally to inspect parts that are straight. However, the complex geometrical parts may have many metallurgical flaws. The curved or angular areas can be exposed to potential surface thinning due to turbulence-induced corrosion. This can lead to corrosion or stress cracking. The welded angular joints can have concerns like porosity, inclusion, or lack of fusion.  

In most inspection processes where conventional probes are used, the flaw identification in the complex geometry is usually done by spot check. However, the inconsistent scan can lead to some flaws being left out in the analysis. At the same time, the process can also be time-consuming. Flexible NDT probes are an ideal solution that can help technicians conduct a continual inspection to provide complete coverage.   

Advantages of Using Flexible NDT Probes for UT and ECT Inspection

Phased array ultrasonic testing (PAUT) and eddy current array (ECA) technologies are effective in inspecting surface and subsurface flaws. For simple and complex geometries, these testing methods can be used to detect changes in wall thickness, pitting corrosion, inclusions, and other flaws. With advanced flexible probes, it is easier for manufacturers to inspect these flaws on complex geometrical parts. Furthermore, these flexible probes provide the following advantages:

  • The flexibility, adaptability, and bend radius of a probe can help in the inspection of straight as well as curved or angled geometries.
  • It is possible to perform the inspection in areas where access is limited.
  • It is feasible to perform a volumetric inspection with high-resolution imaging. 
  • With the flexibility, it is possible to attain continual and complete inspection coverage.
  • A single probe can be used for many types of geometries, thus reducing the need for multiple equipment covering different applications. 
  • The interchangeability of a flexible probe can provide even greater inspection efficiency, time, and cost-effectiveness.

Zetec’s Flexible Inspection Solution

Zetec’s flexible NDT probes are effective in providing industries with the required accuracy and precision in the inspection. Solutions such as the Surf-X Array Probe are suitable for detecting corrosion and cracks in critical applications such as pipelines or pressure vessels. This advanced probe is also ideal for inspecting welds and sizing cracks. The flexibility and versatility of the Surf-X Array Probe can be used for performing detailed inspection of thick or thin-walled components, smooth or complex surfaces to identify subsurface flaws on different kinds of material and geometries. This flexibility allows easy conformance to complex geometries, facilitating continual and consistent scans to provide complete coverage.

An NDT probe such as the Surf-X Array Probe can be adapted by industries to identify minute flaws to enhance safety, quality, and productivity.  

Zetec is a leading provider of high-performance NDT solutions for your ultrasonic and eddy current testing requirements. Our flexible NDT probes offer high accuracy and precision in the inspection of complex geometrical parts. Contact us today to learn more.